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Safety of journalists during critical events focus of OSCE Mission to Skopje, Internal Affairs Ministry and Journalists’ Association workshop with journalists and police officers

OSCE - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:41

SKOPJE, 12 June 2018 – Improving the safety of journalists during critical events was the focus of an OSCE-supported workshop today in Skopje, which brought together some 20 journalists and police officers.

Organized jointly by the OSCE Mission to Skopje, the Internal Affairs Ministry and the Association of Journalists (AJM), this is the sixth in a series of workshops held in cities across the country. The aim is to identify, analyse and overcome the communication issues between police officers and journalists, to enhance their co-operation during critical events, and to increase the trust among them.

“One very important thing we learned during the workshops is that an open dialogue among police officers and journalists is possible and very useful to both groups and to the public they both serve,” said the Acting Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, Jeff Goldstein. ”Journalists must be able to perform their work in a safe and enabling environment.”

The Internal Affairs Minister, Oliver Spasovski, said that there is no justification for attacks on journalists. “The position of the government is clear and we repeat this all the time: zero tolerance for any attempt to jeopardize the freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Any attack on journalists will be strongly condemned and sanctioned.”

The President of AJM, Naser Selmani, said: “We strongly believe that journalists are a very important element in the functioning of democratic processes in the country. Journalists have the right to work in an atmosphere without pressures and threats. The mission they have, to inform the citizens and to demand accountability from government, will not be successful if they work in a state of fear and insecurity.”

The workshops on improving the safety of journalists during critical events organized in Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid, Kumanovo, Strumica and Shtip are part of an OSCE Mission to Skopje project which aims to improve media freedom and freedom of expression in the country.

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE helps Ukraine to improve control and risk management for prevention of major accidents involving dangerous substances

OSCE - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:20
384129 Liana Khorovytska Strengthening Chemical Safety and Security in Ukraine In line with the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery

Ukraine’s challenges in modernizing its chemical regulatory system to meet international standard were discussed at an OSCE Project Co-ordinator-hosted workshop on 12 and 13 June in Kyiv.

More than 90 Ukrainian governmental and industry representatives learned from their counterparts from the European Commission, France, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom their experiences to help Ukraine match its regulations to the European Seveso III directive concerning emergency prevention and industrial safety, as well as other international best practices.

“Ukraine has a large number of enterprises using hazardous chemicals and this creates a high risk of accidents,” said Oleh Melchutskyi, First Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. “There are 675 locations where over 240 tons of such chemicals are stored or used for production,” he said.

The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, Vaidotas Verba, said that accidents involving dangerous chemicals pose a significant threat to human health and lives, the environment and the economy. “For improved emergency preparedness and response, it is also important to be able to better assess the potential effects of an industrial accident or natural disaster affecting chemical facilities.”

The workshop also featured a presentation of the software tools developed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission to assess these effects.

The workshop is part of a major OSCE programme to improve Ukrainian chemical safety and security, which includes other regulatory reform, border control and identification of hazardous substances.

The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine organized the workshop with financial support from the European Union and the United States.

Categories: Central Europe

ODIHR publishes manual on joint training on hate crime for police and prosecutors in Bulgaria

OSCE - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:58
384141 Public Affairs Unit, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) launched a new publication to help train police and prosecutors to address hate crimes in Bulgaria at a workshop organized in partnership with the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Institute of Justice on 12 June 2018 in Sofia.

“Good co-operation between police officers and prosecutors is crucial in addressing the issue of hate crime. The innovative joint training manual  combines and enhances ODIHR’s existing curriculum for prosecutors and law enforcement agencies by placing particular emphasis on improving communication between these two groups,” said Christie Edwards, Deputy Head of ODIHR's Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department. “By bridging the gaps in everyday co-operation between police officers and prosecutors, ODIHR is enhancing the effectiveness of the entire criminal justice system in addressing hate crime.”

The event was held as part of ODIHR’s project Building a Comprehensive Criminal Justice Response to Hate Crime, which has also seen ODIHR organize a series of pilot training courses in Bulgaria for law enforcement personnel and prosecutors in Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv. The materials in the manual developed for Bulgaria, based on lessons learned from the three pilot courses, will contribute to the development of a larger manual for a broader audience on joint hate crime training for police and prosecutors, to be used in criminal justice systems across the European Union and the OSCE region.

“I am certain that the results of the project and the implementation of the manual will be well integrated with the series of efforts we are engaging in to increase the professional awareness and the effectiveness of the criminal justice response to hate crime,” said Penka Bogdanova, Deputy Prosecutor General of Bulgaria.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for ODIHR to present its legal opinion on certain provisions of the criminal code of Bulgaria pertaining to bias-motivated crime, hate speech and discrimination. ODIHR also opened discussions regarding the prospect of greater inter-agency co-operation on addressing hate crimes among prosecutors, the Ministry of Interior, UNHCR Bulgaria, the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, the Ombuds Office and civil society.

Categories: Central Europe

ODIHR hosts exhibition in Warsaw celebrating prominent women of 19th and 20th-century Georgia

OSCE - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:07
384120 Public Affairs Unit, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

An exhibition of images and biographies of distinguished women of Georgia – painters, artists, writers and public figures – who redefined women’s roles in the 19th and 20th-century Georgian society opened at the headquarters of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw on 11 June 2018.

The exhibition, hosted by ODIHR throughout the week, was organized by the Georgian Embassy in Warsaw as one of the events marking the centennial of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, the first independent Georgian state in modern history, which existed from 1918 to 1921.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when new social and political movements were gaining strength, Georgian women obtained voting rights, were elected to the Founding Congress of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, studied at European universities and actively promoted social, political and civil rights for women.

“We are delighted to host this exhibition, which highlights the important contributions made by these outstanding women to the social, political and cultural development of their country,” said ODIHR Director Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir.

“At the time these women were pioneers in taking their society forward. I am sure their path was not easy, but they overcame the challenges in their way. It would be interesting to know what their expectations were as regards the status of women in our time. Did they anticipate full gender equality by now or would they have foreseen how much work is still ahead of us in achieving the full realization of women’s rights,” said Gísladóttir.

 Georgia’s Ambassador to Poland Ilia Darchiashvili, said: “The exhibition is unique and special, as it aims to present to a wider society 50 women of Georgia who have played important roles in the history of the country, in the political development of the state, in almost every field of public life. One hundred years ago, five out of 17 women candidates won seats in the democratically elected parliament of Georgia.”

The materials displayed were collected by the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation from various museums and family and state archives.

Categories: Central Europe

Twenty-six women leaders complete OSCE Border Management Staff Course

OSCE - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 09:07
384300 Munira Shoinbekova, OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe

The OSCE Border Management Staff College (BMSC) concluded its 21st Border Management Staff Course for Women Leaders on 8 June in Dushanbe.

Twenty-six mid to senior-ranking border security and management officials from Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, FYRoM, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia  graduated from the course.

The course targeting female participants aimed to further empower women working in the field of border management and security by developing their professional skills, building capacities, establishing working ties with counterparts and promoting gender- sensitivity in the respective professional environment.

Jonathan Holland, Director of the BMSC, noted that “women’s perspective on border security and management always differs from men’s and it is our honour and privilege to be able to witness and nurture it. Since our inception in 2009, the College has been able to offer five staff courses exclusively for women leaders. We look forward to increasing this number and further contributing OSCE’s gender mainstreaming efforts”.

Comprised of seven study modules, the course curriculum covered border security and management in the context of the OSCE’s tri-dimensional comprehensive security concept. In addition to classroom activities, participants took part in two study trips to Tajik border crossing points on the borders with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

“We had an opportunity to exchange experiences and establish strong interpersonal connections with counterparts from 16 different countries,” said Daniela Ivanovska, a participant from Macedonia. Ivanovska added that she especially liked the diversity of the topics covered during the course: “Customs control and vehicle search techniques were completely new to me. I am a part of an Integrated Border Management working group in my agency and feel that I now am much better equipped to make a meaningful contribution to its work”.

Topics covered during the four-week course included promotion of border security and management in the OSCE area, border security and management models, elements of border control and co-operation, economic, environmental and human aspects of border security and management, organizational management and leadership as well as basic learning and teaching skills.

A roundtable discussion on co-operation in the management of mixed migration flows was conducted in the framework of the course, bringing together subject area experts, representatives of diplomatic missions, international organizations and participants of the 21st Staff Course. Preceded by a debate on countering transnational threats, the roundtable meeting will be followed by a discussion on trade facilitation at borders in October.  

Categories: Central Europe

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 10 June 2018

OSCE - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:41

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region between the evenings of 8 and 9 June, compared with the previous reporting period. Between the evenings of 9 and 10 June, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region, compared with the previous 24 hours. The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties in Vasylivka and Horlivka. The Mission continued to follow up on damage from shelling to civilian properties in Sakhanka. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas. The Mission’s access remained restricted in all three areas and was also restricted at a heavy weapons holding area in a non-government-controlled part of Donetsk region, in Sakhanka and in Siedove near the border with the Russian Federation.The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, including a surface-to-air missile system spotted by an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle which recorded a missile contrail and the launching of a second missile in the direction of the UAV near Ukrainske. The Mission continued to monitor the security situation around the Donetsk Filtration Station and facilitated repairs to an electricity line, the access of Voda Donbassa employees to and from the station and the resumption of operations of the Donetsk Filtration Station. 

In Donetskregion, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1] between the evenings of 8 and 9 June, including 315 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 265 explosions). Between the evenings of 9 and 10 June, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 110 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening and night of 8-9 June, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, seven undetermined explosions, ten projectiles in flight from west to east and a projectile from east to west, followed by totals of an undetermined explosion and 16 projectiles (six from east to west and ten from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south. On the evening and night of 9-10 June, the same camera recorded, in sequence, two projectiles from west to east, an undetermined explosion and 12 projectiles from west to east, followed by totals of 18 undetermined explosions and 49 projectiles from west to east, all 0.5-1.5km south. 

On the evening and night of 8-9 June, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 22 projectiles in flight from south to north, two undetermined explosions, 27 projectiles from south to north and 16 projectiles from north to south, followed by totals of seven undetermined explosions, about 280 projectiles (190 from south to north and 90 from north to south) and two illumination flares in vertical flight, all 2-5km east. On the evening and night of 9-10 June, the same camera recorded, in sequence, six projectiles from south to north, an undetermined explosion and a projectile from south to north, followed by totals of 28 undetermined explosions, about 400 projectiles (260 from south to north and 140 from north to south) and 13 illumination flares (five in vertical flight, four from south to north and four from north to south), all 2-5km east.

On the evening and night of 8-9 June, while in Debaltseve (non-government-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 35 undetermined explosions 4-6km north-west.

During the day on 9 June, positioned on the north-western edge of Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 56 undetermined explosions and about 150 shots and bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-7km west-south-west and west, as well as small-arms fire 1.5-2km north-north-east. On the same day, positioned about 1km north-west of the railway station in Yasynuvata, the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions, 50 explosions assessed as outgoing automatic-grenade-launcher fire and about 135 shots and bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 1-3km at directions ranging from south-west to west.

During the day on 9 June, positioned on the south-eastern edge of Avdiivka (government-controlled, 17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 33 undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all 1-5km at directions ranging from south-east to west-south-west. Positioned on the eastern edge of Kruta Balka (non-government-controlled, 16km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions and about 80 shots and bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-4km south-west and south-south-west, and heard and saw an explosion assessed as an impact 1km east. 

In Luhanskregion, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations between the evenings of 8 and 9 June, including three explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 75 explosions). Between the evenings of 9 and 10 June, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including six explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties. At a hospital in Yasynuvata, a woman (aged 25) residing in Makiivka (non-government-controlled, 12km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that she had been wounded by gunfire while visiting relatives in Vasylivka (non-government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk) at about 19:00 on 9 June. She said that when she had left her relatives’ house, she had heard a shot and had suddenly felt pain in her belly. Medical staff at the abovementioned hospital told the SMM that the woman had been treated for a bullet wound to her abdomen and had undergone surgery.

Medical staff at a hospital in Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that a 15-year-old girl had been admitted on 14 May with bruises to her right shoulder and back and had been treated for shock before being released on 24 May. A woman (aged 30-40) told the SMM that she had been together with her two daughters (aged 15 and 9) in their second floor apartment at 138 Stozhka Street in Horlivka on 12 May when they had heard shelling in the early hours of the morning. She told the SMM that they had gone to the first floor of the building to take cover when they heard a loud explosion, after which her eldest daughter had fallen to the ground and had been hit by a piece of collapsed concrete wall. She said that although her daughter had not been seriously injured, she had been admitted to a hospital in Horlivka on 14 May as she had still been suffering from shock. Two neighbours from the same apartment building (a woman and a man) told the SMM that they had been with the woman and her daughters during the shelling and had seen the 15-year-old girl fall. 

The SMM continued to follow up on reports of fresh damage caused by shelling in a residential area ofSakhanka(non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol). (See SMM Daily Report 9 June 2018.) On 9 June, at 27 Myru Street, the SMM observed that a section of the south-west-facing roof of a one-storey house had missing roof tiles and was covered in plastic film, with debris from the roof on the ground outside. The SMM also saw at least 50 holes and shrapnel marks in the south-west-facing outer wall and fence of the house. Inside the house, the SMM observed at least 50 fresh holes in the ceiling, part of which had collapsed. The SMM assessed all damage to have been caused by a mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction. A resident of the house (man, aged 71) told the SMM that he had been inside with his wife when they had heard a loud explosion at about 17:00 on 8 June. He also told the SMM that his ear had been injured by shrapnel. The SMM saw a bandage on his left ear.

On 8 June, at 22 Konstytutsii Street, the SMM saw minor fresh scorch marks and abrasions on the brick plaster of the north-facing wall of a house. At 26 Konstytutsii Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater in the east-facing garden, severed tree branches and a hole in a gas pipe 20m north-west of the house. The SMM assessed all damage to have been caused by 82mm mortar rounds fired from a south-westerly direction.

On 10 June, at 24 Zhovtneva Street, the SMM saw 15 holes and abrasions to a north-east-facing wooden fence and concrete fence post of a house, as well as a crater assessed as two to three days old 1m north of the fence. The SMM assessed all damage to have been caused by an 82mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction. About 100m east of the house, the SMM noted a stationary military-type truck.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted, but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.* 

On the evening of 30 May, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded a projectile in flight from south-east to north-west 1-1.5km west-south-west and 35 tracer rounds in flight from south-east to north-west 0.5-1km west-north-west (all assessed as inside the disengagement area), as well as 45 airbursts and eight projectiles from south-east to north-west, all 1-1.5km north-west and north-north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area). Positioned in Petrivske on 9 June, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 6-10km west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the evening and night of 8-9 June, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded a projectile in flight from north to south 3-7km east-south-east (assessed as inside the disengagement area) and three undetermined explosions and five projectiles from south to north, all 4-14km east-south-east (all assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the evening of 9 June, the same camera recorded a projectile in flight from north to south 1-2km south-east (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area) as well as an undetermined explosion 1-2km south-east, an undetermined explosion 3-8km east-south-east, two undetermined explosions 4-8km south-south-east and south and six projectiles (four from south-east to north-west and two from north-west to south-east) 4-15km east and south-south-west (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the night of 7-8 June, the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded two muzzle flashes at undetermined distances south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the evening of 9 June, the same camera recorded two undetermined explosions 4-6km south-south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On 10 June, positioned near all three disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Memorandum and the Package of Measures and its Addendum.

In violation of withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, on 8 June, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10) in Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk), with its launching pad angled upwards and assessed as tracking the UAV. (See SMM Daily Report 8 June 2018.) On 8 June, the same UAV also spotted seven multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm)about 6km south-east of Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk) (see SMM Daily Report 9 June 2018), eight MLRS (BM-21) south of Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk), six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) about 1km north-west of Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk) and 15 towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) and 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S1) about 2km south-east of Buhaivka (37km south-west of Luhansk) (see SMM Daily Report 9 June 2018). On 9 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K33) near Ukrainske.

On 9 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) in violation of withdrawal linesnear Ukrainske (non-government-controlled, 80km south of Donetsk) and recorded the contrail of one missile and the launching of a second missile. While the UAV was north-north-west of the surface-to-air-missile system, the first missile was fired in a north-north-westerly direction – the contrail appearing at approximately the same altitude of the UAV – and while the UAV was north-north-east of the surface-to-air-missile system, thesecond missile was fired in a north-north-easterly direction and flew at a significantly lower altitude, passing below the SMM’s UAV. The surface-to-air missile system was spotted in a zone within which deployment of heavy armaments and military-type equipment is further proscribed according to Point 5 of the Memorandum of 19 September 2014.

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in non-government-controlled areas, on 8 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted 34 tanks (24 T-72 and ten T-64) about 3.5km south-east of Ternove (57km east of Donetsk), 11 tanks (T-72) about 3km west of Manuilivka (65km east of Donetsk), 12 towed howitzers (D-30), eight self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and 12 tanks (T-64) about 6km south-east of Miusynsk, 22 tanks (13 T-64, seven T-72 and two undetermined) near Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk), six towed howitzers (D-30) and eight self-propelled howitzers (2S1) near Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk), 16 tanks (ten T-64 and six undetermined), five surface-to-air missile systems (9K35) and eight mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm) south-east of Buhaivka, ten tanks (T-72) near Shymshynivka, and six anti-tank guns (type undetermined), 12 towed howitzers (D-30), nine self-propelled howitzers (2S1), 21 tanks (11 T-64 and ten T-72), 15 mortars (2B11) as well as about 55 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (45 BMP-1 and ten BMP-2) near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk).

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In non-government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines in Donetsk region, the SMM saw six self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and noted that 12 mortars (11 PM-38, 120mm, and one 2B11) continued to be missing.

The SMM revisited permanent storage sites in areas outside government control in Donetsk region, whose locations were beyond the respective withdrawal lines, and noted that 18 tanks (ten T-72 and eight T-64), nine mortars (2B14 Podnos, 82mm) and 15 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) continued to be missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV)[2]and other indications of military and military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 8 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted three IFVs (BMP-2) and about 40m of newly extended trenches (not visible in imagery from 7 February 2018) near Novhorodske (35km north of Donetsk), an ACV near Pivdenne (40km north-east of Donetsk), two probable IFVs east of Pivnichne(formerly Kirove, 44km north-east of Donetsk) and three ACVs near Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk). On 9 June, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-60) near Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRM-1K) near Muratove (51km north-west of Luhansk).

In non-government-controlled areas, on 8 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted about 80m of newly extended trenches near Shyroka Balka (34km north-east of Donetsk) (not seen in imagery from 7 February 2018). On 10 June, the SMM saw four IFVs (BMP variant) in Rodakove (22km west of Luhansk). 

On 9 June, the SMM monitored the security situation around the DFS and successfully facilitated and monitored the repair of a broken electricity cable and the restoration of operations of the DFS.  On 9 and 10 June, the SMM facilitated the access of Voda Donbassa water company employees to and from the DFS, as well as demining activities around the station, and heard ceasefire violations in the area despite explicit security guarantees (see ceasefire table below). On 9 June, the SMM saw a fresh impact in field 50m west of road M04, about 1.5km east of the DFS, assessed to have been caused by a mortar round. Between Kamianka (government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk) and the DFS, the SMM again saw the tail of an 82mm mortar shell (see SMM Daily Report 8 June 2018). 

The SMM observedmines and mine hazard signs. On 8 June, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted at least 11 anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid across the road about 200m north of the residential area of Dolomitne (53km north-east of Donetsk) (see SMM Daily Report 21 December 2017) as well as a checkpoint of the armed formations within the residential area at the intersection of the aforementioned road and the road leading to Travneve. The same UAV spotted for the first time at least 500 anti-tank mines (TM-62) in a field about 50m south of the latter road (not visible in imagery from 13 December 2017).                                                                                           

On 9 June, the SMM saw about 215 previously observed mine hazard signs between a checkpoint in Olenivka (non-government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk) and an entry-exit checkpoint in Novotroitske (government-controlled, 36km south-west of Donetsk): about 200 of the signs were small and square with skull-and-crossbones and a warning reading “Stop! Mines!” in Russian and Ukrainian languages and 15 were large with skull-and-crossbones reading “Stop! Mines! In case of danger call 101” in Russian and English languages, all bearing the logo of an international organization. The SMM noted that overgrown vegetation obscured many of the signs. 

The SMM continued to monitor the situation at entry-exit checkpointsand noted that 1.5m of vegetation had been cleared from both sides of a 4km stretch of road H20 between Berezove (government-controlled, 31km west of Donetsk) and Novotroitske.

The SMM visited four border areas not under government control. On 9 June, while at a border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) for about half an hour, the SMM saw three cars (one with Ukrainian and one with Russian Federation licence plates, and one with “DPR” plates), two buses (with Ukrainian licence plates) and three covered cargo trucks (two with Ukrainian licence plates, and one with “DPR” plates) entering Ukraine and seven cars (two with Ukrainian and four with Russian Federation licence plates, and one with “DPR” plates) and 13 covered cargo trucks (eight with Ukrainian and three with Russian Federation licence plates, and two with “DPR” plates) exiting Ukraine. While at a border crossing point near Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk) for about 15 minutes, the SMM saw no traffic or pedestrians entering or exiting Ukraine.

On 10 June, while at a border crossing point near Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk) for about 20 minutes, the SMM observed nine pedestrians (five women, two men and two children) entering Ukraine.While at a border crossing point near Novoazovsk (102km south-east of Donetsk) for 20 minutes, the SMM saw 18 cars (ten with Ukrainian licence plates, and eight with “DPR” plates) exiting Ukraine as well as four cars (three with Ukrainian licence plates, and one with “DPR” plates) and two pedestrians entering Ukraine.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government (see below). The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April 2017 near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

 

Denial of access: 

  • On 9 June, in Sakhanka, seven armed members of the armed formations requested to see the SMM’s patrol plan. The SMM declined and the armed members told it to leave the area. Later in the day, the SMM was able to proceed to Sakhanka. On 10 June, a member of the armed formations told the SMM that they had received orders from their “superiors” to prevent it from entering the eastern part of the village.
  • On 10 June, two members of the armed formations – one armed – prevented the SMM from entering a heavy weapons holding area in Donetsk region, citing that permission was needed from their “superiors”. 
  • On 10 June, at a checkpoint about 1.2km north-west of Siedove (non-government-controlled, 33km north-east of Mariupol), near the border with the Russian Federation, three armed members of the armed formations denied the SMM access to the village, saying that a special operation was ongoing in the area.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO: 

  • On 9 and 10 June, the SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM by phone that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC on both occasions.[3]
  • On 9 and 10 June, the SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM by phone that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC on both occasions.
  • On 9 and 10 June, the SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. An armed formation member positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed.

Other impediments:

  • On 9 June, an SMM long-range UAVwas temporarily jammed while flying over areas near Krasnohorivka(government-controlled, 21km west of Donetsk).[4]
  • On 9 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K33) and recorded the contrail of a missile and the launching of a second missile in the direction of the UAV near Ukrainske. 

 

[1]For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. The SMM cameras at the entry-exit checkpoints in Marinka and Pyshchevyk were not operational during the reporting period.

[2]This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

[3]The SMM informed Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC. Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC have withdrawn from the JCCC as of 18 December 2017.

[4]The interference could have originated from anywhere in a radius of several kilometres of the UAV’s position.

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe hosts visit to assess projects funded by Japan

OSCE - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 17:26
384078 Munira Shoinbekova, OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe

On 7 and 8 June 2018, the Programme Office in Dushanbe hosted a delegation from the Japanese Permanent Mission to the OSCE in Vienna. The main purpose of the visit was to assess the effectiveness of projects funded by Japan and implemented by the Office in the past several years.

During the two-day visit, the Japanese delegation, accompanied by H.E. Hajime Kitaoka, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Tajikistan and Ambassador Tuula Yrjölä, Head of the OSCE Programme Office, visited the OSCE-supported Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) in Khuroson, Khatlon region. The Japanese Delegation learned about the hands-on support it provides to victims of domestic violence. The 18 WRCs in Tajikistan constitute the largest civil society network in the country promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls to claim their rights and access state services and institutions.

The delegation also visited the OSCE-supported Aarhus Center in Bokhtar, Khatlon region, where the Centre’s work to raise awareness of the Aarhus Convention and rights of the public with regard to the environment was demonstrated.

Members of the delegation also participated in the closing ceremony of the border management staff  course for women leaders at the OSCE Border Management Staff College (BMSC). The course had been attended by 26 female leaders from 16 countries, including 4 female officers from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, respectively. H.E. Ambassador Kitaoka took the opportunity to underline the importance Japan attaches to enhancing the capacity of border officials and cross-border-co-operation, in particular between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, to strengthen security and stability in the wider region.

During the visit, the Japanese delegation furthermore held meetings with representatives of the Border Troops of the Republic of Tajikistan and representatives of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Dushanbe.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE and Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative publish comparative analysis of asset recovery legislation and practice in Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova and Romania

OSCE - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 15:00
Communication and Media Relations Section

The OSCE and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) have published a study on 8 June 2018 analysing asset recovery mechanisms in Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova and Romania. 

The report looks at final court judgments in cases of corruption, with a particular focus on human rights standards, and identifies shortcomings at the national level which can affect regional and international co-operation.

The study complements its sister publication Asset Recovery in the Western Balkans – A Comparative analysis of legislation and practice published earlier this year by the RAI Secretariat and the AIRE Centre with the support of the OSCE. Both studies are part of a broader project on combating corruption in South-Eastern Europe and strengthening regional co-operation in the field of asset recovery.

The conclusions of both studies will inform future activities in the OSCE region to strengthen the capacities of the relevant authorities in connection with the asset recovery process.

 

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE completes removal of highly toxic rocket fuel in Belarus

OSCE - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 11:55

MINSK, 11 June 2018 - Highly toxic rocket fuel components completely removed in Belarus on 11 June 2018. The representatives of the OSCE, Belarus Defence Ministry, the Contractor, international experts and donors signed the final certificates of the joint project closure today in Minsk.

A multi-year project was implemented by the OSCE upon request for assistance submitted by Belarus in 2013. At that time, Belarus did not have the capacity to handle this problem on its own. These chemicals posed risk to the health of a population and to the environment in the country.

Marcel Peško, the Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC) said: “I would like to congratulate all of us for this remarkable achievement. The people of Belarus are now free from this toxic danger and I express my gratitude to the Defence Ministry and the Contractor for the professionalism and co-ordinated efforts which resulted in such a success.”

Andrei Ravkov, Belarus Defence Minister, extended his gratitude for the provided assistance and for contribution to the safety and security of Belarus.

Both thanked the donors to the project, Hungary, Spain, and Sweden, and the contractor, Technoazot Ltd, that made it possible to remove the hazardous materials from Belarus. 

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Categories: Central Europe

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 8 June 2018

OSCE - Sat, 06/09/2018 - 18:39

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. In Sakhanka, the SMM followed up on reports of a civilian casualty and observed fresh damage to civilian infrastructure. It continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside and near the Zolote disengagement area and near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area. The Mission’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas and was also restricted at a checkpoint in Maiorsk and in Naberezhne. The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas. The Mission continued to monitor the security situation around the Donetsk Filtration Station. It also continued to monitor and facilitate repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema. The SMM followed up on reports of an incident at a Roma community camp in Kyiv.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1], including 265 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 240 explosions).

On the evening and night of 7-8 June, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard two explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 1-4km south-east and their subsequent impacts 5-7km south-south-east, as well as about 45 undetermined explosions and about 1,400 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-5km east-south-east, south-east and east. On 8 June, at the same position, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 4-7km south-east.

On the evening and night of 7-8 June, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, three projectiles in flight from west-south-west to east-north-east, four projectiles from east to west, 12 projectiles from west to east, followed by totals of 21 undetermined explosions, 85 projectiles (54 from west to east, three from east to west and 28 from north-west to south-east) and a burst of an unknown weapon, all 0.3-2km south.

On 7 June, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 13 projectiles in flight from south-east to north-west, an undetermined explosion, 16 projectiles from south-east to north-west, followed by totals of three undetermined explosions, 27 projectiles (eight from north-west to south-east and 19 from south-east to north-west) and an illumination flare in vertical flight, all 1-2km east-north-east. On the night of 7-8 June, the same camera recorded, in sequence, a projectile from south-east to north-west and a projectile from south to north, followed by totals of two undetermined explosions and 12 projectiles (nine from south-east to north-west, two from north-west to south-east and one from south to north), all 1-4km east-north-east.

On the evening of 7 June, the SMM camera at Oktiabr mine (non-government-controlled, 9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, a projectile in flight from south-east to north-west and a projectile from south-south-east to north-north-west, followed by totals of 12 undetermined explosions, 14 projectiles (four from south-east to north-west and 11 from north-west to south-east) and five airbursts, all 2-6km north-east.

On 8 June, while in Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 38 undetermined explosions and 165 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-6km south-west.

Positioned 1.6km south-south-east of Kamianka (government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk) for about four hours, the SMM heard about 25 undetermined explosions and a shot of small-arms fire, all 3-7km south-south-east, south-south-west and south-west.

Positioned on the eastern edge of Kruta Balka (non-government-controlled, 16km north of Donetsk) for about four hours, the SMM heard about 25 undetermined explosions 2-3km south-west, and heard and saw four explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds 0.7-1.5km south-west.

Positioned at the railway station in Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions 2-4km south-west.

Positioned in Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 28 explosions assessed as rounds of an automatic grenade launcher, three undetermined explosions and about 70 bursts of small-arms fire, all 1-2.5km west-north-west and west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 74 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 45 explosions).

On the night of 7-8 June, positioned in the eastern outskirts of Sievierodonetsk (government-controlled, 75km north-west of Luhansk) for about 15 minutes, the SMM heard 30 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 10-15km south-east.

On 8 June, while in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 22 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds and 12 undetermined explosions, all 4-10km north.

The SMM followed up on reports of a civilian casualty and observed fresh damage to civilian infrastructure in a residential area of Sakhanka (non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol). At 28 Konstitutsii Street, the SMM saw a man (in his eighties) with a blood-stained bandage on his right arm and hand. He told the SMM that on the evening of 7 June he had been outside the house when he had heard sounds of shelling and had tried to find shelter in a garage, and that after the shelling he had felt pain in his left leg and seen blood on that leg. At the address, the SMM saw a damaged south-facing brick wall of a summer kitchen 2m west of the house and 15m west of the garage. It saw traces of a blast and shrapnel damage inside and outside the kitchen. Inside the kitchen, the SMM saw a destroyed brick oven. On the ground in a yard adjacent to the kitchen, it saw kitchen utensils and ceramic and wooden boards with shrapnel damage. The SMM assessed the damage to have been caused by an 82mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction.

At 18 Konstitutsii Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater in the ground about 15m south-west of the southern side of a two-storey house. The SMM saw two destroyed windows on the second floor of the house, on its south-facing side. It also observed shrapnel damage to an adjacent fence, 10m south-east of the crater and shrapnel pieces on the ground. The SMM assessed the damage to have been caused by an 82mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction. Two residents of the house (a woman and a man, both in their fifties) told the SMM that the shelling had occurred around 20:00 on 7 June.

At 20 Konstitutsii Street, the SMM saw two fresh craters in the ground 3m and 10m south of the southern wall of a one-storey house. The SMM saw cuts, holes and abrasions in the wall. On the eastern side of the house, the SMM saw two shattered windows. The SMM assessed the damage to have been caused by 82mm mortar rounds fired from a south-westerly direction. A woman (in her fifties) present in the house told the SMM that the shelling had occurred around 19:00 on 7 June.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted, but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*                                                                                    

On the evening and night of 7-8 June, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded, in sequence, five projectiles in vertical flight and six undetermined explosions, all 8-14km east-north-east and east (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Inside the Zolote disengagement area, on 7 June, in a residential area on the south-eastern edge of Katerynivka (government-controlled, 64km west of Luhansk), an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted trenches (previously observed, see SMM Daily Report 26 April 2018), military positions and an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2), as well as a newly extended trench, assessed as a few days old, about 150m south of the northern edge of the disengagement area. The same day, an SMM mini-UAV spotted for the first time a newly dug trench inside the disengagement area on its eastern edge (assessed to have been dug between 25 April and 29 May 2018) as well as an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-70) about 100-200m north of the disengagement area. (See SMM Daily Report 5 June 2018).

On the night of 8 June, positioned near Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard 35 shots of heavy-machine-gun fire 5-6km south (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Positioned near the Petrivske disengagement area, the SMM observed a calm situation.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Memorandum and the Package of Measures and its Addendum.

In violation of withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, on 7 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted seven multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) in a training area about 6km south-east of Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk) as well as 16 towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm), 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and seven anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) engaged in an exercise in a training area about 2km south-east of Buhaivka (37km south-west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, on 7 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted two mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) in Kostiantynivka (60km north of Donetsk). On 8 June, the SMM saw a tank (T-64) being loaded onto a flatbed trailer near Pidhorodne (73km north of Donetsk).

In non-government-controlled areas, on 7 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted 11 mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm), 25 tanks (15 T-64s and 11 T-72s) and a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) in a training area about 2km south-east of Buhaivka and seven towed howitzers (D-30) and ten tanks (T-64) in a training area about 6km south-east of Miusynsk (see above). The same day, aerial imagery revealed the presence of ten battle tanks (type undetermined) near Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk), 18 battle tanks (type undetermined), 18 pieces of self-propelled artillery (type undetermined) and 18 pieces of towed artillery (type undetermined) near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk), as well as 56 battle tanks (type undetermined) about 4km south-east of Ternove (57km east of Donetsk).

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines in Donetsk region, the SMM saw a surface-to-air missile system (9K35) and 12 MLRS (BM-21) and noted that one surface-to-air missile system (9K35), 11 MLRS (BM-21) and one self-propelled howitzer (2S1) remained missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] and other indications of military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 7 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted an IFV (BMP-1) in Dolomitne (53km north-east of Donetsk).

In non-government-controlled areas, on 7 June, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted an APC (BTR variant) near Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk) and two military-type trucks (KamAZ-4310) with an antenna belonging to the TORN radio intelligence system near Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk). (See SMM Daily Report 6 June 2018.)

The SMM continued to observe mines. On 7 June, an SMM mid-range UAV again spotted at least 85 anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid in a field south of a road, 1.6km east of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk). (See SMM Daily Report 5 April 2018.)

The SMM continued to monitor the security situation around the DFS. Positioned in areas near the DFS, the SMM heard explosions and small-arms fire despite explicit security guarantees (see above and the table for ceasefire violations).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk).

The SMM monitored a gathering near the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk. It saw about 100 people and around 20 police and military officers present. On the site, a resident (woman, in her fifties) of Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that the protest was in support of a former Head of Military-Civil Administration. Throughout the gathering the SMM observed a calm situation.  

In Luhansk region, the SMM monitored adherence to a window of silence and facilitated reportedly a transfer of funds from non-government to government-controlled areas in relation to a water utility payment.

In Kyiv, the SMM followed up on reports of an incident at a Roma community camp on the evening of 7 June in a park in the Sviatoshynskyi district. According to a statement of the local police, after members of the Roma community had been requested to leave the park, park workers began dismantling the camp structures and clearing the area. The police said that a group of people wearing T-shirts with the Natsionalni Druzhyny insignia had gone to the site and had been tearing down the structures with axes and hammers while recording their own actions and preventing the park workers from clearing up the area. The police said it had launched an investigation into the incident as per Article 296 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (hooliganism). On 8 June, the SMM visited the park and observed debris and wreckage of what it assessed used to be parts of the demolished structures, including pieces of wood, plastic, glass and rusted metal. It saw three tractors and about 35 men wearing face covers and white protective suits removing the debris and wreckage from the site.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Chernivtsi.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government (for example see SMM Daily Report of 6 June 2018). The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April 2017 near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

Denial of access:

  • At a checkpoint in Maiorsk Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the SMM that the checkpoint was closed. The SMM left the area.
  • In Naberezhne (non-government-controlled, 33km north-east of Mariupol) two armed members of the armed formations said they needed permission from their superiors to allow the SMM to enter the village. The SMM left the area.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM by phone that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.[3]
  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. An armed formation member positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed.
  • The SMM did not travel across the bridge in Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km west of Luhansk) due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC. [3]

Other impediments:

  • An SMM mid-range UAV was temporarily jammed while flying over areas near Vedenske (non-government-controlled, 35km north-east of Mariupol).[4]
  • An SMM long-range UAV experienced repeated jamming while flying over areas near Shyroka Balka (non-government-controlled, 34km north-east of Donetsk), Horlivka, Hladosove (government-controlled, 51km north-east of Donetsk), Holmivskyi (non-government-controlled, 49km north-east of Donetsk), Dolomitne (non-government-controlled, 53km north-east of Donetsk), Myrne (non-government-controlled) and Bilorichenskyi (non-government-controlled, 22km south-west of Luhansk).

 

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. The SMM cameras at the entry-exit checkpoints in Marinka and Pyshchevyk were not operational during the reporting period.

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

[3] The SMM informed Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC. Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC have withdrawn from the JCCC as of 18 December 2017.

[4] The interference could have originated from anywhere in a radius of several kilometres of the UAV’s position.

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Categories: Central Europe

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 7 June 2018

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 22:20

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of a boy injured while handling unexploded ordnance and civilians injured in Holubivske; it observed damage to civilian infrastructure in Dokuchaievsk and Pivdenne. In Pivdenne, the SMM observed the presence of Ukrainian Armed Forces in residential areas and heard about the lack of basic services in the area. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area. The Mission’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas and was also restricted in Voznesenivka near the border with the Russian Federation and in Pivdenne, where the SMM heard warning shots nearby. The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Holmivskyi and Sofiivka. The Mission continued to monitor the security situation around the Donetsk Filtration Station and facilitated the departure of workers from the station. It continued to monitor and facilitate repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema. The SMM visited two railyards in areas not under government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including about 240 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 270 explosions).

On the evening of 6 June, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 100 undetermined explosions and bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 3-7km east-south-east and south-east.

On the evening of 6 June, while in Debaltseve (non-government-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions 4-5km west-north-west and shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km north-west.

On the evening and night of 6-7 June, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, an explosion assessed as an impact 600-800m south, a projectile in flight from north-west to south-east, three undetermined explosions, a projectile from east to west, 18 projectiles from north-west to south-east, three projectiles from east to west and a projectile from east-south-east to west-north-west, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On 7 June, positioned in the Chyhari area of Pivdenne (government-controlled, 40km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard shots and a burst of small-arms fire 70-100m east assessed as warning shots (see below and Spot Report of 8 June 2018).

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 40 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 50 explosions).

On the evening and night of 6-7 June, while in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard eight explosions assessed as impacts 8-15km west, nine undetermined explosions 8-15km west-north-west and eight explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 2-4km north, as well as bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 8-15km west and west-north-west.

The SMM followed up on reports of a boy injured while handling unexploded ordnance (UXO). At a hospital in Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM spoke with a boy (aged 14) who was missing his left hand and several fingertips on his right hand. The SMM observed white bandaging around his left wrist and that the affected fingers of his right hand were covered in a dark ointment. The boy told the SMM that he had found a thin pen-like object measuring 10-15cm in length with a red clasp, which he brought home, where it exploded in his hand. Medical staff at the hospital told the SMM that the boy’s left hand and wrist had been amputated, as had the fingertips of two fingers of his right hand, and that the boy was being treated for an injury to his retina. On 6 June, the boy’s aunt told the SMM that the explosion had occurred on 30 April at the boy’s home in Horlivka.

In the Chyhari area of Pivdenne, the SMM saw several burnt-down houses, some of which were still smouldering. The SMM observed at least 20 civilians in the area, several of whom told the SMM that the security situation had sharply deteriorated since mid-May. The SMM saw that five houses on Zarichna Street and one on Tsilinny Lane had been completely destroyed, while houses on Poltavska and Amurska streets were damaged. The SMM spoke with eight people (men and women, between 20 and 60) who told the SMM the area lacked schools, electricity, running water and basic supplies, while mobile communications were difficult to access. They added that medical services and shops were accessible in Toretsk (formerly Dzerzhynsk, government-controlled, 43km north of Donetsk) and Horlivka. The SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces presence in at least six civilian buildings on Zarichna Street and Tsilinny Lane, including ammunition crates being stored in an abandoned home. It observed communications cables in the yards of several houses. About 600m south of Chyhari, the SMM observed a “DPR” flag being flown from the top of a slag heap, indicative of the closeness of the positions in this area.

At the start of the patrol, two SMM patrol members, led by Ukrainian Armed Forces officers along Poltavska Street, heard two single shots followed by a burst of small-arms fire about 70-100m east, assessed as warning shots. The two SMM patrol members immediately took cover on the ground and heard someone shout in Russian: “Do not approach!” An SMM vehicle drove forward to cover and pick up the two SMM patrol members. (See Spot Report of 8 June 2018.)

In Toretsk, the SMM met with seven internally displaced persons who said they had left Chyhari during the last two weeks due to violence in the area and that they were all experiencing difficulties finding accommodation.

The SMM observed fresh damage to civilian infrastructure in a residential area of Dokuchaievsk (non-government-controlled, 30km south-west of Donetsk). At a shop at 96 Lenina Street, about 3.5m above the ground, the SMM observed an 8cm hole in a piece of plywood that was covering one of the shop’s west-south-west-facing windows. The SMM also observed a small scratch on one of the steps leading to the shop’s entrance. The manager of the shop told the SMM that the damage had been caused by shelling which occurred on 5 June at around 19:30. In a ground-floor apartment of an apartment building at 26 Lenina Street the SMM observed a 7cm hole in a cracked west-south-west-facing window and another hole, 10cm across and 3-4cm deep, in the wall opposite the window. The owner of the apartment (woman in her seventies) told the SMM the damage had occurred at around 20:00 on 5 June. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by undetermined rounds fired from a south-westerly direction.

The SMM followed up on media reports of passengers on a bus injured by mortar fire on 7 June. In south-eastern Holubivske (non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed a white 14-seat bus with a cracked windshield, six 2cm holes in its hood, 25 2cm holes in its passenger-side door, broken passenger-side windows and punctured passenger-side tyres. On the floor inside the bus, the SMM saw blood and broken glass. The SMM also observed broken glass on the roadway 2-3m south-east of the bus. The bus was towed away shortly after the SMM completed its observations. On 8 June, members of the armed formations in Holubivka (formerly Kirovsk, non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk), told the SMM that five women and two men had been injured in the bus at around 10:30 on 7 June. Medical Staff at a hospital in Holubivka told the SMM that five women and two men had been admitted to the hospital on 7 June with shrapnel and glass injuries and that four women and one man had been subsequently released.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted, but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

During the day on 7 June, positioned near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, the SMM heard bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-4km west, assessed as outside the disengagement area. The same day, positioned near the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Memorandum and the Package of Measures and its Addendum.

In violation of withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) near Sofiivka (formerly Karlo‑Marksove, 40km north-east of Donetsk) and a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10) near residential areas of Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk) on 5 June (see SMM Daily Report 25 May 2018).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites in non-government-controlled areas, an SMM long-range UAV spotted 30 tanks (type undetermined) near Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk) on 6 June. Near government-controlled Pidhorodne (73km north of Donetsk), the SMM observed four tanks (T-64).

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In non-government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines in Donetsk region, the SMM observed two towed howitzers (D-30) and noted that 11 multiple-launch rocket systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) and eight anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) remain missing.

The SMM revisited a permanent storage site whose location was beyond the respective withdrawal lines in Donetsk region and noted that 11 tanks (four T-64 and seven T-72) remain missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 6 June, an SMM mini-UAV spotted four infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (a BMP-2 and three other BMP variants) in Orikhove (57km north-west of Luhansk) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Novoselivka Druha (23km north of Donetsk); an SMM long-range UAV spotted an IFV (BMP‑2) near Novhorodske (35km north of Donetsk). Also on 6 June, the SMM saw an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) and, on 7 June, an armoured recovery vehicle (BREM-2) near Zaitseve (62km north-east of Donetsk).

In non-government-controlled areas, on 5 June, an SMM long-range UAV spotted five IFVs (BMP-1), two armoured recovery vehicles (a BTS-2 and a BREM-1) and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB) in Horlivka. The following day, an SMM long-range UAV spotted seven IFVs (BMP variants) and two APCs (BTR variants) near Novoselivka (37km north-east of Donetsk). On 7 June, the SMM saw three APCs (MT-LB) each with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU‑23, 23mm) mounted atop near Irmino (54km west of Luhansk), three APCs (MT-LB) each with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU‑23) mounted atop near Kadiivka and two APCs (a BTR-80 and a BRDM-2) in the western outskirts of Luhansk city.

The SMM continued to monitor the security situation in the area of the DFS. On 7 June, the SMM also facilitated the departure of Voda Donbassa employees from the DFS, which has suspended operations, and the demining of nearby areas. Positioned in areas near the DFS, the SMM heard explosions and small-arms fire, despite explicit security guarantees (see above and the table for ceasefire violations).

The SMM continued to observe mines and UXO. Between Kamianka (government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk) and the DFS, the SMM again observed two rows of anti-tank mines laid out across the western part of road H-20 as well as the tail of an 82mm mortar shell. (See SMM Daily Report 5 June 2018.)

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk).

The SMM visited two railyards in areas not under government control. At the Chervona Mohyla railway station in Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed around 60 freight wagons marked “coal”. At the railway station in Rovenky (non-government-controlled, 54km south of Luhansk), the SMM observed up to 40 visibly empty open freight wagons and six tanks wagons, some of which bore the names of various petrochemical companies.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, UXO, and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government (see below). The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April 2017 near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

Denial of access:

  • In Voznesenivka, near the border with the Russian Federation, two members of the armed formations told the SMM to leave the area.
  • In the Chyhari area of Pivdenne, the SMM heard two single shots followed by a burst of small-arms fire about 70-100m east, assessed as warning shots and immediately departed the area.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM by phone that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.[3]
  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM by phone that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.4
  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. An armed formation member positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed.

 

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. The SMM cameras at the entry-exit checkpoints in Marinka and Pyshchevyk were not operational during the reporting period.

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

[3] The SMM informed Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC. Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC have withdrawn from the JCCC as of 18 December 2017.

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office’s Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism encouraged by steps to support Holocaust remembrance in Moldova

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:02

CHISINAU, 8 June 2018 – The Personal Representative of the Italian OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Andrew Baker, concluded his three-day trip to Moldova today, which is a follow-up to his first visit to the country last year. Over the course of his visit, Rabbi Baker met with representatives from the government, the parliament, and the Jewish community to discuss the progress of the implementation of the Action Plan for 2017-2019 in the field of Holocaust education and remembrance. The Action Plan was adopted by the Moldovan government on 22 May 2017.

In his meetings, Rabbi Baker praised the steps that Moldova has taken over the past year to implement the Action Plan. “I commend the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Research for taking the initiative to change the school history curriculum to reflect accurately the Holocaust in the local context,” said Rabbi Baker.

“Now as the important work begins to implement those changes and revise text books, I am happy to note, that the OSCE Mission to Moldova will offer to the Ministry expert assistance to that end. Better understanding of history, including the Holocaust, will promote the culture of tolerance and inclusivity among the young generation in Moldova,” he said. He also welcomed the decision of the Ministry to follow through with its pledge to establish a Jewish history museum in Chisinau in close co-operation with the Jewish community.

Rabbi Baker was encouraged by the decision of the parliament to organize a public hearing on the progress of the implementation of the Action Plan in July 2018. In a meeting with the Head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Rights and Inter-Ethnic Relations, Vladimir Turcan, he called upon Moldovan authorities to ensure allocation of adequate funding for its proper implementation. He also underlined the importance of penalizing hate crimes and denial of the Holocaust and urged the adoption of legislation that will clearly address this problem. 

On the issue of the communal property, the Jewish community informed Rabbi Baker about the amicable settlement agreement on the Rabbi Tsirilson Synagogue case reached in September 2017. The Rabbi expressed hope that the agreement will be fully implemented with the issuance of the construction permits as a first step, which will allow the Jewish community to proceed with the restoration of this historic building. Rabbi Baker also urged the government to move to a broader discussion about restitution of the Jewish communal properties. 

“During my visit, I urged my interlocutors in the parliament, the government, and civil society to build on their achievements and further promote education and remembrance of the Holocaust as well as the importance of inter-ethnic tolerance in Moldova,” Rabbi Baker said.

Rabbi Baker’s trip underscores the priority given by the Italian Chairmanship to the fight against anti-Semitism. His visit also follows ongoing efforts by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to assist authorities in increasing awareness and understanding of the Holocaust in Moldova and promoting a more cohesive society. To this end, the OSCE Mission to Moldova fostered ties between Moldova’s experts with their Romanian peers to develop measures to strengthen Holocaust remembrance and education in Moldova. The Mission also facilitated interaction between Moldova’s officials and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which Moldova joined in 2014 as an observer country.

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Representative raises concern over seizure of New York Times’ journalist’s records in the United States

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 16:21

VIENNA, 8 June 2018 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, today sent a letter to the United States authorities to express concern about the seizure of a journalist’s records as part of an ongoing investigation into the leaking of classified information and to enquire whether the seizure respected national and international standards on the protection of journalistic sources.

According to reports, New York Times’ national security reporter Ali Watkins had years’ worth of her phone and e-mail records seized as part of a leak investigation against James A. Wolfe, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s former director of security. Watkins, who had also worked for Buzzfeed News and Politico, had been notified that the Justice Department had acquired years’ worth of her customer records and subscriber information on 13 February 2018.

“The seizure of Watkins’ data undermines the principle of protection of journalistic sources, which is essential for the exercise of newsgathering. It hampers her ability to work freely as a journalist. Furthermore, it could have a chilling effect on the work of other investigative journalists,” Désir said.

In his letter, Désir also asked for clarification on whether investigators had exhausted all other possibilities before taking Watkins’s information.

Désir highlighted that the right to freedom of expression encompasses the protection of journalistic sources. He recalled that in the General Comment No 34, the authoritative interpretation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee clearly indicates that freedom of expression includes the protection of journalistic sources (paragraph 45).

The Representative also cited the recommendation made by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, David Kaye, in his 2015 report the UN General Assembly, that “any restrictions on confidentiality must be genuinely exceptional and subject to the highest standards, and implemented by judicial authorities only,” (A/70/361, para 62).

 

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, twitter @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Youth and Security summer school concludes in Bosnia and Herzegovina

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 16:06

Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8 June 2018 – The fourth Youth and Security summer school, held from 4 to 8 June in Banja Luka, Sarajevo and Konjic concluded today.

The summer school, organized by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in co-operation with the BiH Council of Ministers’ Inter-Ministerial Working Group for Monitoring the Implementation of BiH Security Policy, gathered some 20 law, political and security studies students from universities in Sarajevo, Mostar, Bihac, Tuzla and Zenica.

During the five-day programme, students attended lectures by prominent experts and visited relevant state institutions and security and law enforcement agencies. The main goal of the summer school is to educate young people about elements that make up security policy and about security sector reform. The school also provides a forum for students to discuss a wide range of security and policy-related issues.  

“Following on the success of three previous years, this summer school will allow students to explore the security policy challenges facing BiH and understand good security sector governance,” said Alexander Chuplygin, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “It also provides a platform to make young voices from all around the country heard,” he added.  

During the visit to the Interior Ministry of Republika Srpska, students became acquainted with the work of the Ministry, while particular attention was paid to the use of social media platforms. Mile Sikman, Head of the Education Department at Ministry said: “We are well aware of the fact that young people increasingly use the Internet and social media in their daily routine and that such use could give rise to certain risks and concerns. For that reason, it is very important that the young people develop a clear understanding of these risks to be able to recognize them and react accordingly.”

Lejla Karic, a sophomore at the Faculty of Law of the University in Tuzla said: “By enabling us to visit security institutions in BiH, the OSCE summer school provided us with an insight into the overall security system of BiH, the functioning of security institutions and the oversight of their work.”

Karic added that “what made the summer school a very positive experience, in addition to the new knowledge gained, was networking with students from different universities and places in BiH, which is beneficial for our studies and even our future careers.”

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE media freedom representative expresses concern over seizure of journalist’s records in leak investigation in the Netherlands

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 15:07

VIENNA, 8 June 2018 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, today expressed his concern about the seizure of a Dutch journalist’s records as part of an ongoing investigation into the leaking of classified information.

According to reports, police has seized the phone records of journalist Jos van de Ven, of the regional daily newspaper Brabants Dagblad, as part of an investigation on leaks about the appointment procedure of the new mayor of the city of Den Bosch in 2017.

“The seizure of phone records of a journalist violates the right of journalists to protect their sources. This may have a chilling effect on the work of other journalists, as it may deter individuals from speaking with them,” said Désir. “It also poses the question of whether this decision respected national and international standards on the protection of journalistic sources.”

The Representative noted that the seizure occurred shortly before the introduction of a new law strengthening source protection in the Netherlands.

“The incident demonstrates the importance of the proposed legislation on the protection of journalistic sources, and I express the hope that the draft law will be adopted and will come into force rapidly,” the Representative said.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, twitter @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

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Categories: Central Europe

International Disaster Risk Reduction focus of study tour to Switzerland organized by OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan and Programme Office in Bishkek

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 14:39
OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan

Disaster risk reduction in areas with transboundary water flows was the focus of a study tour to Switzerland and Italy for ten disaster risk management experts from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan organized jointly by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan and the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek from 7 to 9 June 2018.

The study tour was hosted by the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications and included briefings by this Department as well as the Swiss Federal Roads Office, Swiss Development Co-operation, the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Europe and the UN division for the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.

Over the course of the tour, participants were introduced to a variety of aspects pertaining to international co-operation in disaster risk reduction. Specific topics in this regard were integrated risk management focusing on flood risk management, national road management and the interaction between natural hazards and the transfer of goods and person through mountainous areas. To complete the study tour, the participants conducted a field visit along the route Grand St. Bernhard on the Swiss-Italian border.

The study tour was organized within the framework of the Project Co-ordinator’s project Monitoring Pollution in the Syrdarya River Basin and Assessment of the Transboundary Impact of Toxic Waste, one aim of which is to build confidence and co-operation between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan on the implementation of inter-governmental disaster risk reduction mechanisms.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission campaign raises awareness about safety of journalists in Kosovo

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 14:23
383904 Edita Buçaj

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo continues its campaign to raise public awareness about the safety of journalists, with billboards and murals featuring prominent journalists placed throughout Kosovo.  

Launched in 2017 with TV ads, the campaign addresses persisting challenges that journalists encounter while doing their job and the consequential impact on their work. It stresses the importance of finding the perpetrators of any form of threat or attack against journalists, to prevent future attacks.

“Journalists are exposed to specific risks of intimidation, threats or physical attacks because of their work,” said Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo Jan Braathu.

“A total of 28 threats or physical attacks against journalists were reported in 2017. It is important for each and every member of the society to understand the need to protect journalists and to contribute to an environment that respects freedom of speech and freedom of the media,” said Braathu.

The billboards and murals, in Albanian and Serbian, will be up from June to November 2018.

As part of this campaign, the Mission is also running TV debates on the safety of journalists and related topics. On 22 June it is organizing a conference for representatives of rule of law institutions, media and civil society on legal standards for the protection of journalists. 

Categories: Central Europe

Spot Report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM): Warning shots fired 70-100m from SMM in Pivdenne

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 13:39

At 11:03 on 7 June, an SMM patrol consisting of 15 members and four armoured vehicles was positioned in Chyhari, an area on the south-eastern edge of Pivdenne (government-controlled, 40km north-east of Donetsk). Two SMM patrol members, led (at a distance of 7m) by the representative of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), four officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and three Ukrainian Armed Forces sappers, were walking east on Poltavska Street to check that the area was safe for the patrol to proceed. The other 13 SMM patrol members were waiting about 50m west.

As the two SMM patrol members led by Ukrainian Armed Forces officers walked forward, they heard two single shots followed by a burst of small-arms fire about 70-100m east. The SMM assessed that the small-arms fire was a warning. The two SMM patrol members immediately took cover on the ground and heard someone shout in Russian: “Do not approach!” An SMM vehicle drove forward to cover and pick up the two SMM patrol members. The patrol immediately departed the area. No injuries or damages were reported and the SMM returned safely to its base in Donetsk city.

The SMM had obtained security guarantees for the patrol from both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the armed formations. The Ukrainian Armed Forces commander in charge of the area confirmed to the SMM in advance that the patrol route was safe. The SMM also informed and requested follow-up from the JCCC and the armed formations.

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Categories: Central Europe

Findings from analysis of legal framework for registration of unregistered persons presented in Skopje

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:08

SKOPJE, 8 June 2018 – Government officials and civil society representatives gathered today in Skopje at an OSCE-organized event to discuss the findings of an UNHCR-supported analysis of the existing legal framework for registration of unregistered persons.

During the event, organized by the Labour and Social Policy Ministry with the support of the OSCE Mission to Skopje and the UNHCR Representation in Skopje, the participants exchanged views on the legislative and administrative changes that need to be made to the legal framework in order to ensure registration of unregistered persons, including children.

“It is very important to solve the status of stateless persons, in particular, because this issue is a multi-generation problem resulting in the impossibility to register the children of these persons,” said the Acting Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, Jeff Goldstein.

Jovana Trencevska, State Secretary of the Labour and Social Policy Ministry, said that obtaining personal documents is essential for the realization of citizens’ basic human rights.

“Together with the Justice Ministry and the Interior Ministry we will consider all proposals and initiatives stemming from the analysis aimed at enabling registration and issuing of first birth certificates to all persons born in the country, in order to fully realize their guaranteed rights,” she added.

The Officer in Charge of the UNHCR Representation in Skopje, Dejan Kladarin, said: “‘Everyone has the right to a nationality”: this is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNHCR is committed to helping states eradicate statelessness by 2024. Making registration the rule for each and every birth is a step towards that direction, and analysing the legislation is crucial for identifying the gaps and weaknesses which pose obstacles to people in accessing their basic human rights, such as their right to the nationality.”

 

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Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission to Montenegro supports conference on European perspective on youth policy in Western Balkans

OSCE - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 11:04
Karen Gainer

The OSCE Mission to Montenegro and the Directorate for Youth within the Ministry of Sport organized a regional conference entitled “The European perspective of the Western Balkan within the Berlin process” on 8 June 2018 in Budva.

The Conference gathered leaders of the Regional Youth Co-operation Office (RYCO), members of its Steering Committee, ambassadors from EU member states that are leading the Berlin Process, and other stakeholders responsible for the implementation of the RYCO initiative and the youth policy.

In her opening remarks the Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, Maryse Daviet, said that “this event confirms Montenegro’s strong commitment to regional reconciliation, co-operation and good neighbouring policy as well as its clear EU choice in terms of strategic direction and shared values”.

The European perspective for the Western Balkans within the Berlin Process and the development of a Youth Agenda through RYCO was the focus of the discussion by over 45 participants.  Comparative practices of the Franco-German Youth Office, former Baltic Sea Cooperation Office and RYCO were shared. Each organization had developed difference approaches, which enabled the participants to reflect on advantages and disadvantages of the respective methodologies and identify leading practices.

The OSCE Mission to Montenegro supports this activity within the framework of a project to further enhance the RYCO initiative in close partnership with the Directorate for Youth in the Montenegrin Ministry of Sports.

Categories: Central Europe

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